News You Can Use
Janet Alexander and Chris Maund

April 2013
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Amelia MDS

Greetings everyone,

"April showers bring May flowers" is a common expression in English speaking Northern Hemisphere countries used to justify the rain of April in exchange for lovely flowers to follow come May. I tell you what, on my recent trip to London, UK I did not expect to have 'April snow showers', nor minus 4C..yes you did read correctly, minus 4C/24.8F, plus cold and biting winds. Meanwhile, as I was suffering in BRRRR conditions in England, Chris was in Morocco along with two of his British clients basking in 42C/107.6F 'heat training' in preparation for Marathon des Sables the 7 day ultra running, self supported stage race across the Sahara Desert. What a total contrast - me freezing them sweating! In regards to the race, HUGE congratulations are in order for Chris's client Amelia Watts who is featured jumping for joy in the sand dunes of M'Hamid, the last major oasis 98km south of Zagora, where in days gone by, caravans of camels used to gather before setting off to Timbuktu and in late March where Chris and his crew were all training. This year Amelia finished 5th female in her first attempt of MDS which is truly spectacular. She also placed third female on the final marathon stage behind overall female winner, our good friend Meghan Hicks from the USA. A great result by both fab girls and so that pre-race heat training camp definitely worked it's magic and I'm looking forward to having some of it next year. Anyone else want to join me? I'm sure Coach Chris can whip us into running shape, if nothing else we will be warm! Enjoy the rest of April xxx

Moroccan Argan Oil..another 'good fat'
Argan Oil is an oil native to Morocco used in both culinary and cosmetic products. Before modern times, the Berbers of ancient Morocco would collect undigested argan pits from the waste of goats which climb the trees to eat their fruit. The pits were then ground and pressed to make the nutty oil. However, with the increased demand for the oil the majority today is now harvested directly from the tree and processed with machines. The exception is oil found at the local women's co-operatives which you see as you drive through the Argan tree growing areas.This oil is hand pressed by the women and tastes WAY better! The first time Chris and I saw the goats up the trees we almost ran off the's quite the sight. Goats grazing high in the trees whilst women sit patiently below ready to collect the goat dung! Due to the recommendation of Oprah and other celebrities, there has been an increased interest in Argan Oil. Many cosmetic companies are jumping on the bandwagon and pushing products with only a small percentage of 100% pure Argan Oil in their product and claiming a multitude of benefits for skin and hair. Organic Argan oil isn't cheap (in the USA), so if you see cheap prices, there is a strong chance the product isn't 100% pure and instead mixed with chemicals and fragrances. Argan oil has two times more Vitamin E than Olive oil and it can be used in dishes in the same way olive oil is used. Many Chefs worldwide have shifted to Argan oil from other oils due to an increase in demand for healthy diet menus. Argan oil should be added to your list of 'good fats' alongside olive oil and coconut oil. If you see it, definitely give it a whirl as we are sure you will like the taste. Just in case you were it does not taste 'goaty'!
If it's on my skin, it is in!
While I was in London I presented a 1 day seminar at the Bowskill Clinic on "Training the Female Athlete: The Menstrual Cycle and Strength Training - Any Implications?". It was well received and I'm looking at running a couple of workshops later in the year here in Encinitas. Until then here are three of my slides from my course manual:
Did you know? The average female uses over 300 chemicals to get ready in the morning before she even gets out of the bathroom! USA researchers found that 1/8 of 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals including:carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, plasticisers and degreasers. Our skin is the largest absorbing organ in our body and it takes less than 30 seconds for anything that touches our skin to potentially enter the blood stream. Therefore, if you know that xenoestrogens and endocrine disruptors mess with your hormonal system, would you not want to be 100% pure, clean and green to your skin?
The BIG five to keep off your skin are:
1. Parabens: Anti-fungal, anti-microbial with estrogen mimicing properties.
2. Diethanolamine (DEA): A foaming agent which makes everything creamy and sudsy BUT turns up as liver cancer and as pre-cancerous changes to skin and the thyroid.
3. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate: Anything that foams like toothpaste, shaving cream, shampoo- originally an insecticide.
4. Propylene Glycol: Major player in infertility issues and is basically a latent paint stripper.
5. Diethyl Phthalate:A cheap and versatile chemical used to make cosmetic fragrances. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has it listed as a Category 1 priority substance based on evidence that it interferes with hormonal function. Phthalates are linked to early puberty in girls, reduced sperm count in men and reproductive defects in the developing male fetus when momma is exposed during pregnancy.
So ladies and gents - Do yourselves a favour - please read the labels, get your hippie on and go CLEAN and GREEN. After reading the above list 'Au naturel' may just be a better option...that or an April shower! 
Enjoy your day Janet and Chris xxx